Think you know School Meals?
School meals have never attracted so much public attention, and school food in Wales has never before been so nutritious and varied. Here in Torfaen we feed around 6000 primary and secondary pupils every day, in addition to staff and visitors. In line with Welsh Government standards we have reduced fat, sugar and salt in our recipes, and increased fibre and fruit and vegetable consumption, amongst many other improvements. We care, and our school meals can be trusted to contribute significantly to our young people’s healthy diets.
But making the food we provide in schools healthier has only been half the battle. Young people have to want to eat them and this has been achieved with hard work and enthusiasm by all the schools’ catering teams across Torfaen, and, of course, the valued input from our pupils.
What you can expect to see in our schools
- Fruit daily
- Vegetables and/or salad daily
- Fruit based desserts at least twice each week
- Fish each week
- Oily fish at least twice in 3 weeks
- Meat cuts at least twice a week in our primary schools and three times each week in secondary schools
- No added salt
- Removal of all confectionery, such as chocolate bars, cereal bars and sweets; and also crisps
- Limited potato and potato products cooked in fat or oil (not more than twice each week)
- Limited deep fried or flash fried food (not more than twice each week)
- Restricted processed meat products
- Fruit tuck shops in our primary schools
- Free milk for all nursery and infant pupils
- Free healthy breakfast in the majority of our primary schools
- Promotion of milk and water as best for dental health
Nutrition aside, school meals offer many other benefits
- Convenience - time saved in the mornings by not having to prepare a packed lunch, and no worries over keeping food fresh and safe until lunchtime
- The chance to try new foods
- Fuelling children’s concentration and ability to perform well at school
- Promoting children’s social skills, table manners and ability to make informed meal choices in a safe, supervised environment with friends
- Enjoyment of fun theme menus such as a St David's Day special
- Great value for money
School Meals v Packed Lunches
Time for a rethink on packed lunches? Research carried out by University of Leeds did not paint a positive picture of the nutritional content of packed lunches versus school meals, with less than 2% of packed lunches meeting school meals standards, with recorded worsening levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and zinc over the years.
In direct contrast, our primary menus are nutritionally analysed by our teams’ dietitian to ensure menus offer 1/3 of pupils’ daily requirements for energy, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sugars, fibre, protein, iron, zinc, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folate, sodium.
Time to reconsider?
Last Modified: 27/07/2020
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